Saturday, March 11, 2017

March 11: When You're a Kid, Natasha Trethewey, "Flounder"

It isn't easy trying to figure out who you are when you're a kid.  My eight-year-old son has tried tee-ball and hated it.  My 16-year-old daughter used to love wearing pink as a little girl.  Now, it's jeggings and vintage tees.  I have a whole cabinet full of Barbie and Dora movies.  Last year, my son was totally into Nerf guns.  He doesn't really touch his arsenal any more.

I don't envy kids these days.  The world is very complicated.  Changing all the time.  Trying to figure out your place in it, that's not an easy thing.  I wouldn't be a teenager again for a billion dollars.  Well, maybe a billion, but it would have to be tax-free.

Saint Marty wouldn't mind reliving his thirties, but without all the problems with mental illness and addictions and George W. Bush.


by:  Natasha Trethewey

Here, she said, put this on your head.
She handed me a hat.
You ’bout as white as your dad,
and you gone stay like that.

Aunt Sugar rolled her nylons down
around each bony ankle,
and I rolled down my white knee socks
letting my thin legs dangle,

circling them just above water
and silver backs of minnows
flitting here then there between
the sun spots and the shadows.

This is how you hold the pole
to cast the line out straight.
Now put that worm on your hook,
throw it out and wait.

She sat spitting tobacco juice
into a coffee cup.
Hunkered down when she felt the bite,
jerked the pole straight up

reeling and tugging hard at the fish
that wriggled and tried to fight back.
A flounder, she said, and you can tell
’cause one of its sides is black.

The other side is white, she said.
It landed with a thump.
I stood there watching that fish flip-flop,
switch sides with every jump.

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